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"That song had no content! It wasn't even about the movie, it was about itself! That's like breaking the ninth wall!"
An entire song (or sometimes just a single line of the lyrics) which deliberately provides an example of whatever the subject is, usually for comedic effect
Compare I Resemble That Remark
, This Is a Song
, Heavy Meta
, [Trope Name]
, and Boastful Rap
(as most of that features this trope).
- The lyrics to the theme song for Its Garry Shandlings Show are about how the songwriter is writing the theme to It's Garry Shandling's Show.
- "Dance To The Music" by Sly And The Family Stone may well be a Trope Codifier, as it deconstructs their song style in the riffs and lyrics.
All we need is a drummer for people who only need a beat (only a drum beat is heard)
I'm gonna add a little guitar and make it easy to move your feet (a guitar riff is added)
I'm gonna add some bottom so that the dancers just won't hide (now you hear a bass riff)
You might like to hear my organ, I said now ride Sally ride (an organ plays... and so on)
- Music Instructor's cover of Ultravox's Hymn does the same thing, before launching into the actual covering of the song.
- Played with in "Only A Northern Song" by The Beatles; it was written by George Harrison as a bitter take that to the Northern Songs publishing company owned by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and the way he was treated by it.
If you're listening to this song
You may think the chords are going wrong
But they're not; we just wrote it like that
When you're listening late at night
You may think the bands are not quite right
But they are, they just play it like that
It doesn't really matter what chords I play
What words I say or what time of day it is
As it's only a Northern song
- "25 or 6 to 4" - Chicago's breakout song, one of the founders of 70's rock and considered to this day to be one of the greatest songs ever written is about... Not having anything to write about. No, seriously, that's it. People have been trying to find a deeper meaning in it for decades (ranging from drugs to sex to The Vietnam War), but just give up people, it's really about nothing.
- It's about the real life case of a songwriter trying to come up with lyrics, looking at the clock, and seeing it was already after 3:30 am. Twenty-five or (twenty-)six minutes to four, specifically.
- "Dance Stop" by Daniel Amos is about society doing its best to ignore a nuclear apocalypse, dancing right until the bombs detonate. The music is fast and upbeat, and DA would encourage fans at concerts to dance along.
- "Superpowers" by Five Iron Frenzy:
Sometimes we have a deadline, for writing our songs.
Five minutes left to write this one... la, la la, la la, la la la.
- "Headphones" by Jars of Clay. The lyrics are about isolating yourself from other people's problems by listening to pop music. The music is exactly the sort of pleasant pop sound that the narrator would listen to.
- Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side"
And the colored girls go "do, do-do, do-do, do-do-do-do"
- Bowling for Soup's "A Really Cool Dance Song," which is a techo dance song in which the singer explains that in order to make money, they're doing a techno dance song.
- "Song Inside My Head" by The Arrogant Worms. The song is about an Ear Worm and it IS an Ear Worm. Chances are, like the song's protagonist, you'll have it stuck in your head whether you like it or not.
- "This is the song that never ends, it just goes on and on my friends..."
- Weird Al's "(This song's just) six words long."
- A lie. The chorus is just six word's long, but the song is somewhat longer.
- "School's Out" by Alice Cooper:
Well, we've got no class
And we've got no innocence
And we've got no principles
We can't even think of a word that rhymes!
- Bad Religion: "Cease". Final lines:
What pretension! Everlasting Peace
Everything must <Abrupt cutoff. CD ends.>
- "Move" by John Reuben:
'Cause nowadays, music's too political
And maybe just a bit too predictable
The repetition <click>
Man, I'm just kidding, or am I?
- Blues Traveler, "Hook":
It doesn't matter what I sa-ay-ay \ As long as I sing with infle-ection,
That makes you feel that I con-vey-ay \ Some inner truth or vast reflec-tion.
But I've said nothing so far-ar-ar, \ And I can keep it up as long as it takes!
And it don't matter who you ar-ar-are,
If I'm doing my job, it's your resolve that breaks! Because the hook
brings you back, I ain't tellin' you no li-ie!
The hook brings you back, on that you can rely-ay-ay-ayayay!
- DaVinci's Notebook, "Title Of The Song".
- Likewise, The Frantics have a tune tentatively called "This Song":
This is the first verse of this song
It sets the beat and starts out strong
This song is fast, in 4/4 time
A catchy little tune, and the words all rhyme
- The first verse of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" is about its own chord sequence.
It goes like this: the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
- Mitch Benn is fond of this; for example, "Boy Band", "West End Musical" and "The Apathy Song".
- "Body Be" by Johnny Q. Public explores the idea that believers in Christ can be different, while still members of one spiritual body, and that if one part tries to intrude on the natural function of another, chaos ensues. Around the bridge another song begins, then fades out. It comes back near the crescendo and the entire song dissolves into a confused mess.
- Subverted or Averted (Depending on your opinion) in the song The Sultans of Swing by Dire Straits. Many genres of music are listed in the Sultans' repertoire, and the song itself does not belong to any of them.
- "Three Minute Positive Not Too Country Up-Tempo Love Song" by Alan Jackson.
- #1 Radio Single by Psychostick guides you through the entire song.
Oh this is the verse that sounded just like the verse you heard before, yeah.
But if you please take note that lyrics are slightly different than last time.
We're killing time, until we're at chorus, agaiiiiiiiiiiin.
And here we are back at the chorus.
''Don't you remember the one that is so freakin' catchy it's stuck
in your head, for the rest of your life.
- The Limeliters, "Generic Up-Tempo Folk Song"
- The song "Crayons Can Melt on us For All I Care" by Relient K. It basically just tells you that it wasted part of your life.
I... just wasted... ten seconds of your life.
- The Venezuelan genre of Gaita Zuliana is full of songs that straddle between this trope and This Is a Song, in a Serious Business way. Often the lyrics describe how the song is going trough the traditional Gaita guidelines and tropes. And there is the Gaita Onomatopeyica (Onomatopoeic Gaita), which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- "How to Write A Love Song" by The Axis of Awesome informs the listener how to write a generic chart-topping boy-band love song—in the form of a generic boy-band love song.
- A recurring trope in Mike Batt's songs for The Wombles - most notably, "Tobermory's Music Machine" which describes various ways in which the titular machine goes wrong, and illustrates them at the same time.
- "Come All Ye" by Fairport Convention. Sandy Denny's vocals are highly affecting despite the fact that she's basically just describing what the band is doing.
- "Mozart's House" by Clean Bandit: "I can make my voice sta!cca!to! / then mix it allll le...ga...to"
- Die Ärzte "Die Instrumente des Orchesters". Especially when the singer complains that noone understands the text anymore as soon as the guitar WEEEEIIIIAOOOOOORRRR!
- Less so but still legit, "Die Summe der einzelnen Teile" by Kante (likewise German).
- Spamalot's "The Song that Goes Like This".
- "Ten Dollar Solo" from Commentary! The Musical is entirely about itself.
- Tobuscus' Dramatic Song is an emotional-sounding song... as long as you don't speak English. The lyrics simply explain the fact that he's not singing about anything serious or dramatic but it just sounds like that, all whilst lampshading the music, vocals and how foreign people who don't speak English might find this song intense. See it here.
- Charlie McDonnell has a song on his album called "A Song About a Song".
- The song "Montage" from South Park (and later, Team America: World Police) facilitates this trope by describing the exact narrative devices and reasoning behind Montages while the viewer actually watches a montage on-screen.
- In the Barbie Princess and the Pauper movie, the pauper-turned-princess and her etiquette master have a song detailing what a princess must do. One of the pieces of advice is "always harmonize in thirds". Guess what they do on that line.